PHILADELPHIA - Five victories highlighted the first home meet of the season for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team. Junior Catherine Okoukoni won two events, junior Kristen Judge claimed the high jump and the Quakers swept the relays Saturday at the Big 5 Invite inside the historic confines of Franklin Field.
Okoukoni won the triple jump with the best leap of her career and nearly entered her name into the Penn record books in the event. The Weston, Fla., native took an early lead with her second jump of the day landing at 11.74 meters. She then topped that effort with a collegiate-best measurement of 11.85 meters (38 feet, 10 1/2 inches) on her fourth jump. It was a wind-aided attempt, otherwise, that distance would place 10th all-time at Penn. Prior to that victory, Okoukoni claimed the long jump title. Her second jump of the day stretched to 5.60 meters (18-04.50 ft.). That put her into the lead and stood as the best of the day.
In the first women's event of the day, the Quakers quickly found themselves in the win column. On a cold afternoon in the Northeast, the 4x100-meter relay team was the only squad to break 48 seconds as the Red and Blue claimed the Big 5 title in the event with a time of 47.98.
The 4x400-meter relay team made it a clean sweep for the Penn relays. The Quakers capped the day with a win in the meet's final event as they just outpaced Columbia by less than a second. Penn finished with a winning time of 3:49.63.
Gabrielle Piper won the 100 meters as she finished one-tenth of a second ahead of teammate Emily Townsend. Piper won the first heat at 12.53 and Townsend won the following heat, but clocked out just behind the time of her freshman teammate.
Junior Victoria Strickland finished just a few strides short of claiming the Big 5 title in the 800 meters. The Chevy Chase, Md., native set a career best with her time of 2:12.85, which placed her as the runner-up - just 24-hundreths of a second off the lead.
Junior Corinne Rich entered the Penn record book in the discus. Her final toss of the day landed at 40.67 meters (133-05 ft.). That moved her into 10th all-time in the school records and placed her as the runner-up at the meet. Sophomore Charlotte Pope also finished as the runner-up in the shot put with a toss of 12.20 meters (40-00.50 ft.).
Next week, the Quakers remain in the friendly confines of Franklin Field when they host the annual Penn Invite on Saturday.